Ground Zero Report – Day 1 (Feb.25)

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I was walking with my “I regret lost fatherhood sign.” An intelligent looking businessman in his 50’s approached me. He said “I am very moved by your sign. I got my girlfriend pregnant at 21 years old. I tried to convince her to get an abortion. Her doctor and the nurse at the clinic tried to convince her. Her friends and family tried to convince her. But she said to me ‘it’s ok, you can go, I’m going to have the baby’. We stayed together and my son is 28 years old today. He’s a great guy and I look at him and think about how wrong and selfish I was. I’m not religious but when I saw your sign it really hit home. I’m sorry you lost your child.” 

I said “thank you for sharing the story, even though I lost mine, I still love to hear about the life choice made for other children who are saved from the horror of abortions.” 

– David MacDonald 

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I got to Ground Zero at about 7:30 am. There was the usual hustle and bustle of downtown
Ottawa. Pretty soon, though, women (and staff) started arriving at the mill. Just as I
was giving some brochures to a woman about to enter, one of the abortion workers passed
by, also on her way in. She immediately took the brochures from the woman’s hand and gave
them back to me. I did not take them back, instead I told her "It’s her right to have
this information". She wouldn’t hear of it and put them back under the strap of my
shoulder bag. At least she didn’t tear them up, which is what a young man did later in
the morning, throwing the pieces in my face, saying, "Haven’t you ever heard of choice?"

By 8:00, the owner of Sauna 63, seeing me there, as well as the vigilers across the
street, decided to call the police. It took a good 40 minutes, but they (6 of them!)
finally came and had a long talk with him. They came out and spoke to me, taking my name,
and letting me know it was OK for me to be there, handing out pamphlets, as long as I
don’t throw them at anyone (that would be construed as harrassment) and that I not block
the entrance to anyone. Those are exactly the guidelines I’ve been following, and intend
to follow, so there’s no problem there. All of this before 9:00 am.

On a more encouraging note, there were two possible turn-arounds. We can’t be sure if the
life of a child was saved, but I was greatly encouraged. The first involves a young
couple who seemed to be looking for an address. They went into 71 Bank, then turned
around, headed towards the McDonalds, came back a couple of minutes later. I approached
them with the brochures saying "I know the women going into this clinic have some serious
problems, but the solution to a crisis pregnancy is to take care of the crisis, not
terminate the pregnancy." The young man grabbed the brochures and exclaimed "I believe
that too!" and nodded to the woman with a "told you so" kind of look. We exchanged a few
more words and then they walked towards Sparks St, turned the corner, and I didn’t see
them for the rest of the day. May God bless them and encourage them. 

A  bit later on, as another couple was about to enter, again, the man took the brochures and thanked me. They  went in, and I noticed they were looking through the brochures as they were waiting for  the elevator. They came out not more than 30 minutes later, too short a time for having  gone through with the abortion (it seems to take on average 2-3 hours). Since the mill’s  own website says that "counselling, ultrasound and a doctor’s exam are usually done in  the same visit as your abortion, so you’ll only need to come to our clinic once", I would
say it looks like they may have changed their minds. They didn’t come back to tell me,
though, other than a nod from the gentleman as they left, I can’t say for sure.

– Doris G.

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The opening rally for the 40 Days for Life Campaign was an encouraging success. Although it was very cold, some 100 people braved the elements to attend the candle light event and hear a few speakers, sing some hymns and reflect on Scriptural passages.

After the one-hour event ended at 9PM, I stuck around to chat and have a coffee with some friend at McDonalds and then headed back across the street to Ground Zero to pray.  I was there from about 9:30pm to Midnight. It was frigid and I was miserable.  Since I was not well dressed for the evening, the cold was penetrating by bones and the numbness had already started to set against my fingers and toes. I started to shiver and even shake.  The cold was so methodical and unyielding.  When an unborn child is first confronted with his death, he feels the cold surgical instrument touch his soft, innocent skin.  His life will then end in a most violent and vicious assault. 

As I stood there praying in the cold night, I received a singular grace — a grace that I had never experienced before in my life.  

I received the grace to rejoice in suffering.

I’ve rejoiced before. I’ve suffered before. But I’ve never experienced both at the same time, and it was a strange feeling indeed.  To rejoice in suffering is not to relish the thought of feeling pain for pain’s sake like some sick masochist does.  Rather, it is to see beyond the pain, to overcome and conquer it with the help of God’s grace. You still feel the pain. It’s not any less intense, but there is a purpose and a meaning to it which makes it bearable.  And it is faith which is the difference between succumbing to the pain and overcoming it.

So, as we brave the elements during these 40 days, let us unite our sufferings with the unborn.  Let us rejoice in conquering suffering so we can serve as a witness to remind an unbelieving world that suffering and death are not the final answer. Indeed, they have already been conquered through Christ.

– JohnP.

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